Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seungbom Kim and Hyejin Jeong - General Doctor

Seungbom Kim and Hyejin Jeong are General Physicians that comprise General Doctor, situated in Hongdae, Seoul. They delivered an interesting presentation about using design to acheive an intimate doctor-patient relationship. They have reconstructed a clinic into a café with an attempt to reconfigure their tools, environment and communication to create the most human-oriented medical experience.

Patients often go into a clinic with pre-conceived ideas of a general consultation with a doctor, which Kim & Jeong regard as “old communication.” By transforming their clinic into a café, this can be turned into “new communication.” Instead of waiting in a clinical-like waiting room before seeing a doctor, patients are able to read books or play with the clinic’s pet cat while they wait to be attended to.

The medical practice is ultimately based on “humans helping humans” but with the increasing use of machinery and impersonal interaction between doctor-patient, this element has been lost. General Doctor aims to bridge this and strive towards a doctor-patient relationship that is primarily based on intimacy and communication.

Think about when you visit your doctor. He/she asks you questions about the nature of your illness or pain, how long you have had it for, what you have eaten over the past few days, if there are any medical complications in your family and many other things. We spend quite a while telling the doctor all this information, but as General Doctor says, “No matter what story the patient tells, it is not written down in medical history.” The doctor only extracts certain words of the patient that he needs to write down. To counter this, General Doctor considers that patients record their own notes about their conditions, therefore allocating a full 30 minutes per patient.

The duo should be commended for their innovative ideas to transform what is usually a scary experience for a child to visit a doctor into something that seems like they are playing. One such idea is their stethoscope doll – a doll that actually has a stethoscope in it, so that a child needs to just hold the doll to their chest and the doctor can go about their job.

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